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Pakistan, U.S. Have Shared Interests in Afghanistan: State Department

by Newsweek Pakistan

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In press briefing, spokesperson says Islamabad has been ‘helpful’ in achieving shared goal of peace and security in Afghanistan

Pakistan and the United States have shared interests when it comes to peace and stability in Afghanistan, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday, adding that Islamabad remains an “important partner” to Washington across several fronts.

“We have—and this goes over the course of successive administrations now—encouraged Pakistan to be a constructive partner when it comes to Afghanistan and our collective efforts to bring about some semblance of peace and security there,” Price told a weekly press briefing in response to a question on whether Pakistan still had any leverage over the Taliban to bring them to the negotiating table for intra-Afghan talks.

“Pakistan has been helpful … recently when it comes to this shared interest,” Price continued. “Our shared interests go well beyond that: broader counterterrorism interests as well, not to mention the people-to-people ties that unite our two countries,” he added.

According to Price, all of Afghanistan’s neighbors needed to play a constructive role in helping to bring about a just and durable political settlement, as well as a comprehensive ceasefire, in the war-torn state. “For far too long, some of Afghanistan’s neighbors have not played that role. They had been happy to let—content, I should say—other countries take responsibility. And right now, we have made clear that we are going to be working very closely to ensure that Afghanistan’s neighbors do play that constructive role, knowing that it will be a necessary ingredient to what I think we all collectively hope to see in Afghanistan,” he added.

‘Absolutely not’

In recent weeks, Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly stressed that Pakistan is no longer willing to partner with the U.S. for conflict, and would only work with Washington for peace. “The U.S. was defeated in Afghanistan and they tried to shift the blame of their defeat on us,” he said during a parliamentary address. Echoing statements he had already conveyed in various media interviews, he said that the incumbent government would compromise on Pakistan’s sovereignty and would not permit the use of its soil for the U.S. to stage counter-terror operations in Afghanistan.

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